Bus to Nowhere
Rollercoaster section 1: Get to Mangalore and pick up boards
It all began with the first leg of my trip, a simple flight from Pune to Mangalore. However, this time I tried to fly with my 8’6” Hobie SUP, which wouldn’t fit on the plane from Bangalore to Mangalore. There I stood trying to finagle my board into this little twin prop plane in the middle of a tar mac in India. It was agreed that it wasn’t going to fit, so they took the board to be rerouted through Mumbai. This took a bit of haggling on my part, because they just wanted to put it in a back room and wait for me to come back through the Bangalore airport… Yeah, RIGHT! I landed in Mangalore and checked with the airline desk, and they said I could pick it up in the morning. They did not give me any paperwork, tag number, confirmation, flight details, or general confidence that my board would in fact arrive the next day. This was the low beginning of the rollercoaster. Arriving at the Ashram was the first high. I took my regular creepy cab driver to the Ashram, the same guy I call every time I go to Mangalore, and enjoyed an afternoon catching up with the Surfing Swamis. They were super bummed that they were unable to make it down with me to help with the Surf Charity, but they had a lot of guests to tend to at the Ashram; they sent some foam surf boards in their place. The rollercoaster was climbing up. The next morning I woke up and went for a surf on my race board, this was the exhilarating top of the coaster. It went downhill from there as I tackled the task of finding my SUP surf board. I spent 2 hours trying to get anyone on the phone to tell me where it was and when it was landing. Finally, I got in touch with the Bangalore airport that gave me all of the information I needed. I hired a cab and went to pick up my board. When I saw that my board had arrived, it was a rollercoaster high. When I saw what the Indian security officials had done to my beloved board, it was an underground low. The board bag had been cut with a box cutter inside and out to see if there were drugs packed inside. They also stabbed the board to ensure it wasn’t made of cocaine. (Thank you Hobie for making a robust board. Even when they scraped it and stabbed it, it held up and only sustained minor damages. It was too strong for them to destroy! Also, thank you for not making your SUP boards out of drugs; I would have been screwed.) I returned to the ashram, patched up my board, and went for a long paddle. This was the calm before the storm, I’m glad I took the time for a paddle.